Phone

Synaptics’ new in-display fingerprint sensor will probably not be on the Galaxy S9

Exactly a year ago, Synaptics announced a new fingerprint sensor that could be placed beneath the glass on the bottom bezel of a phone’s front side. That led to plenty of speculation that the Galaxy S8 would come with the fingerprint scanner buried under its AMOLED display, only for Samsung to put the fingerprint sensor in a horrible spot next to the rear camera. Today, Synaptics has unveiled an in-display fingerprint sensor that it says is already in “mass production with a top five OEM,” suggesting we could see one on the Galaxy S9.

In-display fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S9? Probably not

We’re not sure that will be the case, however. First and foremost, Synaptics could be talking about any of the top five smartphone OEMs, even if it says the sensor is designed for phones with “infinity displays.” According to the last quarter data from IDC, Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi were among the top smartphone manufacturers in addition to Apple and Samsung. The press release from Synaptics says the industry is “quickly shifting to bezel-free OLED infinity displays,” and unfortunately, Samsung and Apple aren’t the only ones using such displays.

Huawei already has such a display on the Mate 10 Pro, and it could be working on yet another handset with an all-screen design that may also implement said fingerprint sensor. Apple, meanwhile, is clearly more interested in Face ID and is unlikely to look back towards fingerprint sensors anytime soon, even if it could put one behind the screen.

Synaptics also doesn’t say when the first phones with in-display fingerprint sensors will hit the market, so it’s possible such phones will only arrive in the second half of 2018. The Galaxy Note 9 would be a likely candidate in that case, as some rumors are already floating around supporting that possibility. What the rumors haven’t said is that the Galaxy S9 (or the Galaxy S9+) will come with a fingerprint sensor below the display, so a sudden press release from one of the world’s top fingerprint scanner makers isn’t enough to turn things around.

Most reports suggest the fingerprint sensor will stay at the back with the Galaxy S9, but with a placement that’s more convenient. That’s certainly what’s looking most plausible at this point in time, and while you will hear no complaints from us if the Galaxy S9 does have an in-display fingerprint sensor, it certainly doesn’t look like Samsung is ready to make such a major design change. Improving existing security methods on its phones is a better plan for the short-term, and even an easy-to-reach sensor at the back of the phone will be a drastic improvement for the company’s flagship phone lineup.

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